In which I eat far too much suburban barbecue

You won’t find any old family recipes at Jeka’s. Pitmaster Eugene “Jeka” Storozhuk, who emigrated to Aloha from Ukraine at age 11, grew up grilling with his family. But when it comes to smoking, he’s entirely self-taught. “I watched lots of shows and videos; that’s where I really picked up the tricks and techniques.” For the past three years, Storozhuk has applied those tricks in the parking lot of a Mobil gas station on Pacific Highway, tending an eclectic lineup of meats in a massive black smoker, with a squirt bottle in one hand and tongs in the other. The results are eclectic. “We don’t have a style,” says Kristin Storozhuk, Eugene’s wife, who runs the retail side from a trailer parked alongside the smoker next to an impressive heap of firewood. Style or no, the results are worth a stop, wherever you’re going. Jeka’s intensely smoky chicken, coated in a salt-and-pepper bark and served chopped, is deservedly a top seller. Also excellent are the enormous spare ribs, bright pink from smoke and at once moist and tender, with a terrific balance of sweet and fat.

Southwest smoke: Sampling the barbecue joints, stands and trucks on Portland’s west side